Saturday, September 26, 2009

Good Fall Snack

I don't know about you, but when the munchies strike, if I eat pretzels or chips, forget it--I'll end up eating half the bag and blow all my hard work. So, low-carb high-protein snacks work best for me. Plus, they fill me up much better than high-carb, low-protein snacks. My new favorite snack:

1/2 cup whipped lowfat cottage cheese (could sub regular cottage cheese or ricotta (part-skim or fat-free))
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 packet Splenda with Fiber
2 Tablespoons walnut halves or pieces

Mix thoroughly. Enjoy.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Bellini Turkey Burgers with Grilled Peaches

Summer is coming to an end but you can still get some great peaches at the grocery store. Grilling fruit is an excellent way to add a lot of flavor without adding a lot of calories. When the peach slices hit the grill, their natural sweetness comes out and they become soft and tender, giving a lot of moisture to the burger--essential for turkey because it is so low in fat. I served this with some steamed spinach and some baked sweet potato fries.

When I saw this bellini jam in the store, I knew I had to have it. Bellinis remind me of Venice, Italy, where they were invented. I have great memories of sitting in San Marco Square among the tourists, the pigeons, and the beautiful Cathedral and Palace...sipping on bellinis with my husband and our friends. It remains one of my favorite drinks--and always takes me back to that wonderful night!

1/2 lb dark ground turkey meat
3/4 lb light ground turkey meat
1/3 cup fat-free Greek yogurt
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 peaches, pitted and sliced into 1/2-inch thick slices
1/3 cup Bellini jam (could substitute peach, apricot, apple)
1 1/2 teaspoon whole grain mustard
1 Tablespoon orange juice (or water)
1/2 cup reduced-fat feta cheese (optional)
2 whole wheat pitas cut in half or 4 whole grain hamburger buns

1. Combine dark and light turkey meat, yogurt, salt, red pepper flakes, and thyme, mixing until just combined. Score into four equal portions with your hand (indent an X in the meat) and form four patties. Salt and pepper the outside of the burgers.

2. Heat a grill pan on Medium-High heat. Spray with olive oil spray. When hot, add turkey burgers. (Don't move them around). Add peach slices.

3. While burgers cook, combine jam, mustard, and orange juice (or water) in a small saucepan over low heat. Whisk to combine.

4. Flip peaches after 1 minute. Flip burgers after 5 minutes. Take peaches off the heat as soon as they have grill marks on the second side.

5. Using a pastry brush, brush some of the jam glaze on the turkey burgers. Add feta to the rest of the sauce. Combine with whisk and then spread on the bread.

6. When turkey burgers are done, take off the heat and let rest for a couple minutes. (To test, cut into a burger--there should be no more pink inside.)

7. Assemble the burgers--put a turkey patty on top of the jam-feta spread that you have already put on the bread. Top with a couple peach slices.

Serves 4.

Printable version here.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Host a Come Together Party

Macy's is hosting an amazing campaign called Come Together. It raises money for Feeding America. Basically, you host a party and encourage your guests to bring a check or some cash instead of a hostess gift. Macy's then matches whatever money you raise. To find out more, click here.

I will be hosting one in October and posting some pictures. I encourage you to do the same! Spread the word. Let's feed some folks.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Pan-Seared Beef with Blackberry Cabernet Reduction over Arugula and Pureed Cauliflower

My friend, Lee, is a fabulous cook. He served my husband and me this meal at a dinner party and I have been thinking about it ever since. I made a few subtle changes but the credit goes to Lee on this one!

1 pint blackberries
1/2 cup plus 1/4 cup Cabernet
1/2 cup plus 1/4 cup beef broth
salt and pepper
2 filet mignons
olive oil
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
2 Tablespoons Light Sour Cream
1 Tablespoon butter
4 cups arugula
good-quality extra virgin olive oil
Aged balsamic (optional)

1. Put blackberries, cabernet, 1/2 cup beef broth, a pinch of salt, and a few grinds of pepper in a small saucepan over high heat. Reduce, stirring occasionally.

2. Steam cauliflower florets in microwave for 5 minutes.

3. Put a pan on the stove over high heat. Pat filets dry and then generously sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add a couple tablespoons (or enough to evenly coat bottom). Once hot (you can smell the olive oil), add filets. Don't move them--this is how they brown.

4. As they cook, arrange arugula on plate. Lightly drizzle with high-quality olive oil to taste. Sprinkle lightly with salt and a few grinds of fresh pepper.

5. The meat is ready to turn when juices start to gather at the top. It should release naturally. Flip the beef and refrain from moving it around once again. Cook to desired temperature (medium is only a couple more minutes from here )and place beef aside to rest. Turn the heat to low and pour 1/4 cup cabernet into pan, scraping up brown bits in the bottom of the pan (flavor concentrate--don't skip this step!!!) Pour that into the reducing blackberry sauce.

6. Transfer cauliflower to food processor. Add sour cream, butter, and 1/4 cup beef broth. Puree. Add salt and pepper to taste.

7. After the beef has been sitting for 5 minutes, slice. Place cauliflower puree in the center of the plate and top with beef. Pour the blackberry reduction over. Sparingly drizzle the plate with aged balsamic.

Serves 2.

Printable version here.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Coffee-Ancho Marinated Pork Tenderloin with Salsa Verde over Carrot Puree

It's always fun to use some ingredients, like coffee, in new ways. Everyone thinks of coffee for dessert, but rarely is it used in savory dishes. This is a great use for leftover coffee from your daily A.M. pot. (If you don't make coffee every day--good for you--you can just buy a cup and save it for later).

1 pork tenderloin, trimmed of silver skin and big pieces of fat
1/4 cup CHILLED (room temperature or cooler for safety reasons) coffee
1 Tablespoon Ancho Chili Powder
1 teaspoon plus 1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon honey
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
1 Tablespoon canola oil
1 serrano chili, 1/2 sliced with seeds in, other half de-seeded and minced
5 or 6 Tomatillos, husks removed
1/2 white onion, minced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
8 small or 4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1 1/2" pieces
1 Tablespoon light sour cream
Beef broth

1. In a large zip lock bag or a glass pan, whisk coffee, chili powder, cumin, 1 T honey, vinegar, oil, half the serrano pepper (with the seeds), and a small pinch of salt.

2. Add pork tenderloin and let marinade for at least 2 hours. (Preferably longer).

3. When ready to cook pork, take out of fridge to get the chill off the meat. Preheat grill to Medium-High. Put the carrots in a microwave-safe bowl with a Tablespoon of water and microwave, covered, for 8 minutes.

4. In a sautee pan, drizzle a teaspoon or so of canola oil (more if needed) and turn heat to Medium. After 30 seconds or so, add chopped onion, garlic, and serrano. Add a pinch of salt and 1/2 teaspoon cumin and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until they start to become soft and transparent. Transfer to food processor to cool. Flip pork after 6 minutes or so.

5. When grill is hot, add pork and tomatillos. Keep an eye on the tomatillos as they cook quickly--we're just looking for a nice char on these. They will only take a couple minutes per side. When they are charred, take them off the grill and let them sit for a few minutes to cool. When cooled, peel off charred skin, remove any hard stalks, and transfer to food processor with the onion mixture. Add a teaspoon of honey and run the processor until well combined. Transfer to a bowl to cool. Rinse out processor for the carrot puree.

6. When the pork has reached an internal temperature of 145 degrees, take off grill and let sit to redistribute juices.

7. Put carrots in food processor. Add sour cream and a pinch of salt. Run the food processor. Through the feed tube, add beef broth until it reaches desired consistency (like a thin mashed potato).

8. Slice pork and serve over carrot puree. Drizzle any accumulated pork juices over the pork and top with salsa verde.

Serves 2.

Printable version here.